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Old 02-05-14, 09:24 PM   #1
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Sturmey Archer TCW-III: Am I a Fool?

Well, I've taken the plunge, and disassembled my first IGH, an August 1963 SA-TCW-III coaster brake 3 speed. Well, I mostly took it apart. Some place I read not to move the drive side cone and lock nut, because if not in the exact place, the shifting will be affected. I also didn't bother to unthread the drive side "dohicky with the right hand threads" which holds the internal ring gear, etc., in place (I've yet to learn the proper SA parts vocabulary, but I'll work on this ).









I've read Mr. S. Brown and others about how unreliable the braking is on the TCWs. So I know what I'm getting myself into. The plan is to lace this to a Sun CR18 26 X 1 & 3/8 rim to match the front hub drum brake on this Motobecane mixte I'm building for my daughter. Also, along with the drum brake I'll leave the centerpull in place on the rear, so "triple" brakes.



I'm currently removing the the drop bars and SA-S5 five speed rear wheel. The plan is to make this a comfortable neighborhood bike with upright bars and simple three speed shifting.

So am I crazy? I manage to reassemble everything back together for a dry fit, and I believe I did it correctly. So should I leave it at this or go ahead and build the wheel?



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Old 02-06-14, 12:00 AM   #2
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Doesn't seem crazy. Lots of people used that hub without incident. With two alternative brakes, you'll be fine.

Congratulations on the overhaul. It's fun, isn't it? Why did you disassemble it?
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Old 02-06-14, 02:25 AM   #3
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Why did you disassemble it?
Indeed. That was going to be my first question.
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Old 02-06-14, 05:33 AM   #4
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Doesn't seem crazy. Lots of people used that hub without incident. With two alternative brakes, you'll be fine.

Congratulations on the overhaul. It's fun, isn't it? Why did you disassemble it?
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Indeed. That was going to be my first question.
Thanks Tom for the vote to move ahead. Will do and hopefully in the process learn the technical names to the SA parts. One thing I realized when I had everything laid out was that the internals have changed from the TCW (see technical literature under the parts) to the TCW-III. I looked online last night for the correct material but with no luck. Anyone have a source?

Why take this SA-IGH apart? Good question. First I should say that I found this on a lone wheel at the dump. The 50 year old steel rim was trash and even rusted through in one or two places. So it was free, and in reading up on SA hubs that this one was not their best work, so this seemed like the perfect candidate for at least an autopsy.

Second, I've always had a curiosity for how things work. Since I had nothing to loose, why not?

Third, by the time I had finished unlacing and cleaning the gunk from the externals, I was not certain the internals were all that clean. I was also convinced the grease on the 50 YO bearings was probably in need of replacement. So apart it came!

I was glad I did. While much of the grease had been "resurrected" by WD40 migrating inward, half was still very hard and caked into the races.
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Old 02-06-14, 07:31 AM   #5
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Wait, you're going from a S5 to a TCW-III? Why would you do that?

Is the TCW-III the one where the brake only works when the gear cable is adjusted right? It sounds to me like a bad idea to have a brake that only works some of the time.

I understand that the S5 can be annoying when it doesn't work right. The same can be said for anything. But the S5 has better spaced gears and wider range and its reputation is that though a bit finicky it is generally reliable.

If I wanted a three speed coaster brake hub (and I'll admit the idea does not tempt me, so I'm biased anyway) I would go for the F&S Torpedo 515, or Shimano 333, or modern Sturmey Archer, in that order.
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Old 02-06-14, 07:53 AM   #6
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Finicky hub = more time with your daughter "Dad, may brakes don't work"

redundant rear brakes = "that's fine honey, use the hand brake...the games almost over, I'll be out in a bit"

The Mrs. chimes in.." Dear, remember were going shopping for new drapes this afternoon"

Your response..."Honey, the child asked for help......I'm sure whatever you find will be perfect"


Sounds like a perfect build to me!
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Old 02-06-14, 08:12 AM   #7
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My 28" wheeled English Roadster has one version of the S-A 3 speed hub with brake, I forget the model but was made in 1964.
I have owned the bike for let's see... 33 years. I have kept feeding it oil and it has never let me down.

I do like the better brake modulation of the coaster brake vs. the horseshoe stirrup brakes it also has on both wheels.
I have no idea if this wheel was original to the bike or not, if not it was a good upgrade.

A lucky dump find in my view. A tribute to British Empire chrome too by the look of how the chrome cleaned up.
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Old 02-06-14, 09:03 AM   #8
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You are my brother, and what does Matthew 5:22 say?

In fact, I wouldn't call you a fool even if Matthew said it was okay. My view is that it's okay to take stuff apart just because it's winter and you think it will be an interesting challenge.
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Old 02-06-14, 10:49 AM   #9
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"Wait, you're going from a S5 to a TCW-III? Why would you do that?" Also my question! Think of the S5 as two different ratio 3 speeds in one. I run mine as a close ratio 3 speed and only use the "wide" as an under/over drive as needed, STEEP hills=under drive and faster than cruise=over drive. Tim
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Old 02-06-14, 12:28 PM   #10
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"Wait, you're going from a S5 to a TCW-III? Why would you do that?" Also my question! Think of the S5 as two different ratio 3 speeds in one. I run mine as a close ratio 3 speed and only use the "wide" as an under/over drive as needed, STEEP hills=under drive and faster than cruise=over drive. Tim
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Wait, you're going from a S5 to a TCW-III? Why would you do that?

Is the TCW-III the one where the brake only works when the gear cable is adjusted right? It sounds to me like a bad idea to have a brake that only works some of the time.

I understand that the S5 can be annoying when it doesn't work right. The same can be said for anything. But the S5 has better spaced gears and wider range and its reputation is that though a bit finicky it is generally reliable.

If I wanted a three speed coaster brake hub (and I'll admit the idea does not tempt me, so I'm biased anyway) I would go for the F&S Torpedo 515, or Shimano 333, or modern Sturmey Archer, in that order.
Okay, the back story!

Sometime last spring I picked up the S5 wheel off ebay for what I considered a good price in that it was laced to a rusting out rim--- and did not come with shifters. Surprisingly the spokes were still in good shape, so over the summer I taped a Sun CR18 to the steel rim and transferred the original spokes to the new rim, and bingo I had a good S5 wheel but no shifters and no plans.

This Fall while cleaning up the shop, etc., etc., I started looking at what I had on hand and planned a build around the S5 wheel. The Motobecane mixte was the end result after several false starts. Since I still did not have a SA Twin Stick shifter, I tried to improvise, first with two SA 3 speed shifters and finally with the Suntour ratcheting friction stem shifters.







When all was said and done, the frame was too small for me and the S5 did not play well with the Suntour shifters. So I decided to rebuild the mixte with the TCW-III I had on hand--- for my daughter. She is moving to Nashville, TN this summer, where it is significantly flatter then here in the NH mountains. The AW gear range of the TCW should be adequate to get her from her condo to the pool and the grocery about a mile further. Besides, the 3 speed shifting is intuitive, and trust me, she needs intuitive.

So, the S5 wheel stays here in NH waiting for me to find an interesting frame, in my size, upon which I plan to build a drop bar gravel grinder. The drop bars and lights (pictured) are staying here in NH as well. One final piece of information. I finally found a set of SA Twin Stick shifters to purchase at a price which was still higher than I wanted to pay, but not nearly as astronomical as I've seen.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:34 PM   #11
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Rudi, you wouldn't care for an SC3? If not, I'd like to know why. It has a good reputation.

Pastor Bob, those are all very good reasons. Even learning that the grease had turned to shellac, as Graham would put it, even in retrospect, proves you were right. Plus you got to tinker with something new.

Also, Velognome is very creative with coming up with extra reasons for what you're doing! Great job.

I should pause carefully before warning you that something might be too much trouble. You are, after all, the master freewheel overhaul dude. I have patience for the AW hub but not for freewheels. I have retired from freewheel overhauling duty.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:36 PM   #12
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Pastor Bob, are you aware that you can shift an S5 with two triggers meant for an AW? The left shifter will have two positions. I think you use 3 and 2. That comes from the deep recesses of my dusty memory, but I learned it when I was young, so it's probably right.

Ooh, I just noticed how you mounted the bell. I'm going to try that on my bike with the spinner bell. That is a spinner bell, right?
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Old 02-06-14, 12:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
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You are my brother, and what does Matthew 5:22 say?

In fact, I wouldn't call you a fool even if Matthew said it was okay. My view is that it's okay to take stuff apart just because it's winter and you think it will be an interesting challenge.
Jon, this is such a coincidence. This Sunday I preach from Matthew 5:13-20, and next Sunday 5:21-37. Those who are familiar will know this is from what is known as the Sermon on the Mount.
Yes, I do like to take things apart--- but I know my limits. I never touch anything under the hood of my cars other than to jump start a dead battery. SA hubs have been on my "to do" list for quite a number of years! Some might say it is foolish to do so, but all I can say is, "So far, it has been great fun!"

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Finicky hub = more time with your daughter "Dad, may brakes don't work"

redundant rear brakes = "that's fine honey, use the hand brake...the games almost over, I'll be out in a bit"

The Mrs. chimes in.." Dear, remember were going shopping for new drapes this afternoon"

Your response..."Honey, the child asked for help......I'm sure whatever you find will be perfect"


Sounds like a perfect build to me!
I do value your endorsement! I told Mrs. PB about this last night that I'd give it to her for Valentine's Day. And she liked the idea. My daughter doesn't have a clue! (See what I said about "intuitive" above. And she's 21!!!

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My 28" wheeled English Roadster has one version of the S-A 3 speed hub with brake, I forget the model but was made in 1964.
I have owned the bike for let's see... 33 years. I have kept feeding it oil and it has never let me down.

I do like the better brake modulation of the coaster brake vs. the horseshoe stirrup brakes it also has on both wheels.
I have no idea if this wheel was original to the bike or not, if not it was a good upgrade.

A lucky dump find in my view. A tribute to British Empire chrome too by the look of how the chrome cleaned up.
I felt the same way about the find. Should have taken a before picture. This TCW-III was your typical picture of 50 years of pure neglect in need of rescue and rehab.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:49 PM   #14
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Pastor Bob, are you aware that you can shift an S5 with two triggers meant for an AW? The left shifter will have two positions. I think you use 3 and 2. That comes from the deep recesses of my dusty memory, but I learned it when I was young, so it's probably right.

Ooh, I just noticed how you mounted the bell. I'm going to try that on my bike with the spinner bell. That is a spinner bell, right?
Tom, I had hoped the two 3 speed SA triggers would work, but I still found it less than satisfactory. That's why I thought I'd try the Suntour shifters. Hopefully with the correct shifter on the way, no worries ahead!

Yes that is a spinning bell. As a side note, I recently found 5 of these in stock--- at all places, Home Goods. I think I paid $4 a piece.
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Old 02-06-14, 01:34 PM   #15
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The spinning bell is excellent, because (1) it's loud and (2) it sounds unusual enough to get people's attentions. We have a lot of wily pedestrians in Manhattan, as you're probably aware. I love watching them stop in their tracks when I ring my bell. They jaywalk and follow their ears more than their eyes. When the cars finish going through and before the light turns green for the pedestrians, they start crossing. I'm still coming through, but they don't hear us cyclists. That's why they jump in front of us cyclists without being aware. Unfortunately, the bell rings a bit just from going over bumps. It's a small annoyance, and I don't think I can fix it without hampering normal willful operation.

I got my bell at the Brooklyn Bike Jumble this past fall. That was a fun event.

And while the only SA hub I've taken apart so far has been the AW, I agree it's great fun. What a marvel of 1930's engineering (or whatever decade it was)! I've done coaster brake hubs, which are simpler, but I haven't done a IGH coaster brake hub yet.

Do you watch Dan Burkhart's videos on IGH's? They are excellent. His name on youtube is 2wagondragon. I highly recommend the videos. Dan is on BF but not so often here in C&V. He even shows how the complex hubs work inside. And I love the cable pull measuring machine he built.
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Old 02-06-14, 01:36 PM   #16
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Pastor Bob, have you read Sheldon Brown on the S5 and shifter option?. I run a standard SA 3 speed shifter on right side of bars, it shifts my normal gears. 1 = 38.3 gear inch, 2 = 48.6 and 3 = 61.6 which is my normal cruise. I run it as narrow range 3 speed most of the time, when I need a lower low (32.4) or a higher high (72.9) I use a friction shifter on the left side of bars to shift. It can take a bit of getting used to... Tim

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Old 02-06-14, 02:06 PM   #17
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The spinning bell is excellent, because (1) it's loud and (2) it sounds unusual enough to get people's attentions.

Do you watch Dan Burkhart's videos on IGH's? They are excellent. His name on youtube is 2wagondragon. I highly recommend the videos. Dan is on BF but not so often here in C&V. He even shows how the complex hubs work inside. And I love the cable pull measuring machine he built.
Tom, we don't really need bells here in the NH mountains, even on our Rail Trail. Most times on the trail I'm lucky if I see 2-6 other people in 20+ miles.

I have seen Dan's videos and they inspired me to take the plunge. Need to watch it again before I do the final assembly. Thanks for the reminder.

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Pastor Bob, have you read Sheldon Brown on the S5 and shifter option?. I run a standard SA 3 speed shifter on right side of bars, it shifts my normal gears. 1 = 38.3 gear inch, 2 = 48.6 and 3 = 61.6 which is my normal cruise. I run it as narrow range 3 speed most of the time, when I need a lower low (32.4) or a higher high (72.9) I use a friction shifter on the left side of bars to shift. It can take a bit of getting used to... Tim
I'm guessing this is where I read about using two trigger shifters and thought I might be able to get away with the Suntour friction ones. I'm certain if I had to I could finesse and make one of these systems work for me. But hopefully my previous shifting challenges with the S5 are moot points now that this little piece of vintage plastic and steel is heading my way from our friends in Canada!

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Old 02-06-14, 02:36 PM   #18
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When I was 9, I got a Stingray look-alike bike with a single shifter that looked just like. It shifted an AW hub. What a great stickshift for a boy to have on his bike. Too bad they were outlawed. They're really BOSS!
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Old 02-06-14, 05:14 PM   #19
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I'm looking forward to receiving this shifter. Does anyone know where they are normally mounted? Top tube or handlebars?

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Old 02-06-14, 05:44 PM   #20
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Top tube. By the way which version of the S5 do you have. I wasn't trying to be a smart alec earlier in the thread... If the TCW is adjusted right they work pretty well.
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Old 02-06-14, 06:01 PM   #21
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S5 shifters:



I have the SA twin stick stem shifters, but I don't like them
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Old 02-06-14, 07:53 PM   #22
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Top tube. By the way which version of the S5 do you have. I wasn't trying to be a smart alec earlier in the thread... If the TCW is adjusted right they work pretty well.
IIRC, I have the last version S5. I think it is a '79, but I'd need to take a look to confirm this. I was thinking it went on the top tube, but wasn't a 100% certain.

No, didn't have any bad feelings about your post. Could you be more specific on the "adjustment" of the TCW. Are you basically referring to the tightness of the cone nuts?
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Old 02-06-14, 07:54 PM   #23
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S5 shifters:



I have the SA twin stick stem shifters, but I don't like them
Why don't you like the Twinshift shifters? A helpful description of why would be appreciated.
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Old 02-08-14, 06:35 AM   #24
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A bit late to the party... my bride's first Colt has the TCW-III on it. So far no issues, but I did make sure the hand brakes work. Her Twenty and other Colt are both getting AWC hubs on them when I get the chance. She is not a hand brake kind of girl. I also agree with intuitive, my wife could never master a multi speed derailleur bike, the IGH hubs with a single shifter are the only way to go for her. I suspect they may be an Alfine 11 in her future.

Shifters for the S-5, use a stock 3 speed shifter on the right side and a friction shifter on the left, also use a tension spring for the left side at the hub, similar to a Shimano setup. Mark Stonich of Bikesmith Designs is the one that showed me that trick.

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Old 02-08-14, 09:05 AM   #25
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A bit late to the party... my bride's first Colt has the TCW-III on it. So far no issues, but I did make sure the hand brakes work. Her Twenty and other Colt are both getting AWC hubs on them when I get the chance. She is not a hand brake kind of girl. I also agree with intuitive, my wife could never master a multi speed derailleur bike, the IGH hubs with a single shifter are the only way to go for her. I suspect they may be an Alfine 11 in her future.

Shifters for the S-5, use a stock 3 speed shifter on the right side and a friction shifter on the left, also use a tension spring for the left side at the hub, similar to a Shimano setup. Mark Stonich of Bikesmith Designs is the one that showed me that trick.

Aaron
Aaron, thanks for adding some real world experience about the TCW-III. I'm going to move forward with building the wheel.

One embarrassing thing to share, however. I'm waiting for the 40H Sun CR18 rim to arrive any day now. But yesterday, while in the shop checking on a handful of Regina Oro cogs in the polishing machine, I noticed tucked behind my wife's scooter, a rim box. Sure enough, I had bought the same rim sometime last year and had forgotten about it! I guess I'll just have to use it on another SA IGH wheel build in the future!

As far as the S5 is concerned, I got my earlier description of it being "the latest model" backwards. It is actually the first model, is a 1969 hub, and has the mechanical "Bell Crank" (?) as the link to switch the "High" and "Low" in the 1st & 3rd gears. Do you suggest the spring between the lever and the cable end? Having tried the shifting and not finding it satisfactory, a spring would make sense in making a big improvement. I have this model S5.



Also in digging through SA Heritage website, I found an exploded view of the TWC-III hub. The diagram under my original pictures was of the first version of the TCW and it did appear to be slightly different from what I was trying to reassemble. Finding this diagram gives me the confidence to complete the final reassembly!

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